Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, thursday stated that it was wrong to assume that investors in electricity systems were leaving Nigeria, adding that on the contrary, the appetite for investments in the countryâ€™s power sector is still high.
Fashola said this in Abuja when he inaugurated a project for emergency improvement of electricity supply called the power capacitor bank built by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) at the Apo substation of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).
According to him, â€œThis morning, somebody said all the investors are leaving Nigeria. But please play the speech of the Japanese Ambassador, Sadanobu Kusaoke, to this person that not only have they (JICA) completed these projects, they are undertaking another one in Lagos and they are going to do more.
â€œIf there was one sector in the Nigerian economy that investment appetite is high, it is the power sector, and the potential that it has is very high. I couldnâ€™t say more eloquently than the way Kusaoke has put it.â€
On the 60MVAR power capacitor bank, he noted that the facility would help improve the voltage of electricity supplied to selected locations across the country.
The minister also explained that a second power capacitor bank which would serve other locations would be located in Keffi, Nassarawa State, and will be handed over to the federal government by JICA in June this year.
He said: â€œWe are here because we promised incremental power and to make it better. Not only have we improved the quantity of power that is available, we have also improved the quality of power that is transported and distributed.
â€œIt is one thing to have power and another to have good quality of the power. And today, we have come to address the quality of power.â€
Continuing, Fashola explained: â€œSome of the examples of improving services will be the roll out of projects that will help bring more people access to power. Our population has grown over the last 20 years without commensurate expansion in the services, and that is partly why there is load shedding and low voltage.â€
Similarly, the Chief Representative of JICA, Nigeria Office, Katsutoshi Komori, described the projects as â€œemergency improvement facilities.â€
Komori added that improving core infrastructure in the power sector was one of the priority areas of the agencyâ€™s programmes in Nigeria.
He said: â€œIt is my pleasure to be here today to celebrate the inauguration and handover of â€˜the project for emergency improvement of electricity supply facilities in Abuja.â€™ In Nigeria, the high ratio of reactive power, together with insufficient capacity of facilities, interferes with the quality of electricity supply.
â€œFor instance, areas like the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and Nasarawa State have particularly high population growth rate and are some distance away from power generation facilities, consequently, suffer from voltage drops and power loss. To address this challenge, JICA provided a grant for the procurement and installation of power capacitor and related equipment at Apo and Keffi substations.â€
In his remarks, the Managing Director of the TCN, Mr. Usman Mohammed, said the 60MVAR power capacitor bank situated in the Apo transmission substation was necessitated by the ongoing transmission rehabilitation and reinforcement of power infrastructure in Nigeria by the TCN to improve its wheeling capacity at the interface level with electricity distribution companies.
Usman explained that the facility would improve the voltage of the power supply in Abuja, Nasarawa and Benue States.
It was also learnt that the grant agreement for the Apo and Keffi power capacitor bank projects was signed between the Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning and JICA, with the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing as a witness on February 11, 2016, while the contract was awarded to an EPC contractor in July 2016 at the cost of $12.1 million.